Finding the Fits: Bills will get 1st-round play from OT Glenn; picked No. 41
The Buffalo Bills made one of the first surprising picks of the 2012 NFL Draft by selecting the best player available -- talented cornerback Stephon Gilmore -- rather than addressing their gaping hole at left tackle. Fortunately, another SEC star, former Georgia standout Cordy Glenn, landed in their lap in the second. Why is Buffalo a particularly good fit for Glenn? NFLDraftScout.com explores.
Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix has often subscribed to the "Best Player Available" strategy.
At times, the strategy has left some scratching their heads. The selection of Clemson running back C.J. Spiller in the first round two years ago, for example, serves as a perfect example. Few were/are any higher on Spiller's potential as an all-around weapon than I, but with Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch on the roster at the time, few anticipated the selection at No. 9 overall, especially with several other areas of concern on the roster.
The Bills made a similarly surprising choice in the first round this April, as well, selecting South Carolina cornerback Stephon Gilmore at No. 10 overall. Like with Spiller, I have no problem with Gilmore going this high, only that the selection didn't appear to fill an area of significant need for the Bills. As it turns out, just like with Spiller (whose place on the roster was more justified with the subsequent trading of Lynch to the Seattle Seahawks), the selection of Gilmore allowed the team to release costly and aging cornerback Drayton Florence (31), who was due $4 million in base salary.
The addition of Gilmore along with the notable free agent acquisitions of pass rushers Mario Williams and Mark Anderson should give the Bills a defense every bit as dangerous as their offense. Clearly, the focus on improving their ability to get to defend the pass is geared towards slowing down the New England Patriots' explosive aerial assault. Bill Belichick's club has dominated the AFC East, taking the division crown in an astounding eight of the past nine seasons (the exception being 2008).
Gilmore is expected to start as a rookie. He joins a secondary blessed with a lot of talent in intriging second-year pro Aaron Williams, former first-round pick Leodis McKelvin, and quality veteran Terrence McGee.
Of course, the Bills' ability to slow others' offenses won't matter much if they aren't able to continue to score at the same high rate with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and wide receiver Stevie Johnson (among others). Under renowned offensive mind Chan Gailey, the Bills improved last season to 14th in the NFL in both points scoring (23.2) and yards per game (351.5).
The Bills have been searching for a long-term answer at left tackle ever since trading Jason Peters to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2009. Ironically enough, the Bills' replacement for Peters -- Demetress Bell -- also was lost to Philadelphia, but in free agency this year when Peters tore his Achilles tendon.
Nix historically has looked for offensive line help outside of the first round. He found a Pro Bowler in Marcus McNeill in the second round (No. 50 overall) in 2006 and may have found a similarly gifted prospect in Georgia's Cordy Glenn at No. 41 overall this year.
Glenn, like McNeill, was a four-year starter who fared very well against SEC competition. At 6-6, 345 pounds, Glenn is similarly built as McNeill (6-8, 336) with the long arms, quick feet and balance to remain at left tackle, where he started as a senior after starring inside at left guard over the first three seasons of his collegiate career.
Glenn had been expected to be drafted in the first round. He was so disappointed with not being among the first 32 players drafted that he traveled home following the first round's conclusion. Glenn had been among the players the NFL had invited to New York to sit in the "Green Room." Glenn dropped on draft day due to concerns about his tenacity. While a physically imposing player with Pro Bowl potential, Glenn was viewed as a bit soft by some scouts, who questioned whether he'd ever play up to his talent level.
With Glenn slipping into the second round, he's likely going to have a significant chip on his shoulder. That, in my opinion, makes him all the more likely to have the immediate impact I anticipated from him in ranking the monstrous blocker No. 18 overall on my Big Board.
Finally, of the talented offensive tackles still on the board for the Bills at No. 41 overall, Glenn's experience practicing every day against Georgia's 3-4 defense makes him all the more likely to have success as a rookie against the complicated three-man fronts used by the Bills' division rival Patriots, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.
The rest of the Bills' picks:
1st Round - No. 10 overall - Stephon Gilmore, CB, South Carolina
2nd Round - No. 41 overall - Cordy Glenn, OL, Georgia
3rd Round - No. 69 overall - T.J. Graham, WR, North Carolina State
4th Round - No. 105 overall - Nigel Bradham, OLB, Florida State
4th Round - No. 124 overall - Ron Brooks, CB, LSU
5th Round - No. 144 overall - Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State
5th Round - No. 147 overall - Tank Carder, ILB, TCU
6th Round - No. 178 overall - Mark Asper, OG, Oregon
7th Round - No. 251 overall - John Potter, K, Western Michigan
Read more about all of the Bills' picks here.
A diluted drug test continues recent alarming off-field concerns for talented Alabama pros...
Here are players from Air Force to Wyoming who might not be drafted but could make an NFL...
Who should the Rams take with their first pick? We break down all their options
Who should the Seahawks take with their first pick? We break down all their options
Who should the Cardinals take with their first pick? We break down all their options
Who should the 49ers take with their first pick? We break down all their options